Stephen Curry: Graduate First Then Honor Jersey


Stephen Curry does not have an honored or retired jersey at Davidson due to rule that honorees must graduate.

Stephen Curry does not have a jersey hanging in the rafters of Belk Arena. For a North Carolina alum, this seems kind of weird. After all, there are scads of jerseys in the rafters of the Smith Center. Yet that number would likely be reduced if Chapel Hill used the same standards that Davidson does for its honored jerseys.

Davidson requires a player to graduate in order for a jersey to be honored. By that logic the jerseys for Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants, Sean May, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, and Harrison Barnes all went up too soon. Some of those guys may have completed their coursework since, but they still hang with all the others.

Davidson’s rule has not only affected Curry. The school’s all-time leading rebounder Mike Maloy played in the late sixties in the Lefty Dreisel era of Davidson basketball. He left for the pros a year early and never returned to get his degree and so never had his jersey honored according to reports from C.L. Brown of ESPN.

This is a rule I generally like. It reminds us that the point of a scholarship is to complete an education, which means graduation. It holds great Davidson players to the label of student-athlete. Curry is not fighting this fact, he has stated that he will return one day and finish his degree.

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When he does it will a big moment for Davidson basketball. They will finally get to add a banner to the rafters to go with the Stephen Curry locker that gets shown to all Davidson players and recruits. Curry raised the profile of the school tremendously by taking the team deeper in the NCAA Tournament each time and almost beating Kansas in his junior season to go to the Final Four.

Without Curry there is no invite to the Atlantic Ten. Without Curry there may not be recruits like Jack Gibbs, who is filling up the basket for the Wildcats this year.

Meanwhile Curry continues to sell the school with every MVP type performance in the NBA. The reigning MVP and NBA Champion hails not from Duke, Carolina, or Kentucky, but from a small school near Lake Norman with a fine academic reputation.

The Davidson Wildcats play the North Carolina Tar Heels under all the banners on Sunday.